How Parent Trigger Puts Florida’s Fine Arts Education at Risk


Getting little play in this year’s Parent Trigger bill is the so-called parent notification clause. Parent advocacy group, Fund Education Now, sees the danger in Carlos Truillo’s bill for families and children who choose fine arts:

March 21, 2013, Orlando, Fl… Fund Education Now, a leading Florida public education advocacy group, issued a sharp warning today that HB 867 Parent Empowerment/Parent Trigger by Rep. Carlos Trujillo puts Florida public school music and fine arts programs at risk by banning students from the classroom of any teacher evaluated as “low performing” according to high-stakes test scores, averaged school-wide, of students they do not teach.

Florida public schools often only hire a single band, drama, chorus or art teacher. Despite these limited resources, Parent Trigger places a 1 year ban on students taking classes from a performing or fine arts teacher who receives a less than “effective” rating based on dubious calculations.

“Parent Trigger legislation creates profound losses for parents, teachers and children.  Florida Politicians have been put on notice: The self- empowered parents of Florida will not permit politics to deprive our children of one of the few vibrant, creative course offerings left in our shrinking curriculum,” said Christine Bramuchi, co-founder, Fund Education Now.

In addition to Fine Arts, the Parent Trigger singles out “out of field” for teachers especially harsh measurement.  As currently written, a teacher with a Mathematics PhD would be considered “out of field” when teaching gifted math because they are not “gifted endorsed.”   Parent Trigger requires that her students be turned over to another teacher with a Bachelors in Math or take the class as a “Virtual Learner.”

“Parent Trigger says that a Phd in Mathematics is inferior to a virtual instructor.  Does that make sense?  It’s insulting that politicians keep pushing a “parent empowerment” bill that no one but for-profit charters and virtual content vendors seem to want.  Who is profiting?” asked Kathleen Oropeza, co-founder, Fund Education Now.

HB 867 by Rep. Trujillo, Parent Empowerment/Parent Trigger
Language that harms Arts Educators begins on line 407:

(b) If a high school or middle school student is currently taught by a classroom teacher who, during that school year receives a performance evaluation rating of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” under s. 1012.34, the student may not be assigned the following school year to a classroom teacher in the same subject area who received a performance evaluation rating of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” in the preceding school year.
(c) If an elementary school student is currently taught by a classroom teacher who, during that school year, receives a performance evaluation rating of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” under s. 1012.34, the student may not be assigned the following school year to a classroom teacher who received a performance evaluation rating of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” in the preceding school year

Fund Education Now stands with Florida PTA, NAACP, LULAC and numerous regional groups in strong opposition to opposition to HB 867 Parent Empowerment/Parent Trigger. To schedule an interview with an alliance member or receive more information, contact: Kathleen Oropeza, Fund Education Now, 407.234.8948

Florida republicans have been irresponsible in advancing legislation which utilizes data which comes from teacher evaluation bill SB 736. It’s part of the accountability apparatus that Senate president Don Gaetz admitted was “in danger of imploding.” The FLDOE is trying to circumvent anxiety about the system with an all-is-swell study about the test-based, Value Added Material or VAM. But FEN’s take on Parent Trigger demonstrates another shove a square peg into a round hole actualities of republican education reforms.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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